|SEC Charges Accountant with Defrauding Investors Through Kickback Scheme |
U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 23949 / September 29, 2017
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Brian C. Jensen, No. 17-CV-5563 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 22, 2017)
SEC Charges Accountant with Defrauding Investors Through Kickback Scheme
The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged an accountant with steering investors into buying shares of a public company's stock while receiving undisclosed kickbacks from the company's ex-Chairman.
According to the SEC's complaint, filed in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y. on September 22, 2017, Brian C. Jensen, of Sandpoint, Idaho, solicited more than 25 of his accounting clients and attendees of investment conferences to buy more than $2 million in private placements of unregistered stock of ForceField Energy, a company that previously traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market. The complaint alleges that the then-chairman of the board of ForceField, Richard St. Julien, paid Jensen kickbacks of approximately 10% of the value of the ForceField investments Jensen solicited, earning Jensen at least $127,000 in illegal kickbacks from St. Julien. Jensen also obtained approximately $43,000 from ForceField stock that he sold.
The SEC's complaint also alleges that Jensen was not registered with the SEC to sell investments. The SEC encourages investors to check the backgrounds of people selling investments by using the SEC's investor.gov website to quickly identify whether they are registered professionals and confirm their identity.
The SEC's complaint charges Jensen with violating Sections 5 and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 10(b) and 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. Without admitting or denying the allegations in the SEC's complaint, Jensen agreed to the entry of a partial judgment that permanently enjoins him from violating the charged provisions of the federal securities laws and permanently bars him from participating in penny stock offerings. The court will decide the amount of disgorgement or civil penalties at a later date.
The SEC previously charged 10 individuals with fraud, including St. Julien, for their involvement in schemes to trick investors into buying ForceField shares. The SEC's action remains stayed pending sentencings of the remaining defendants in the parallel criminal action.
The SEC acknowledges the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and FINRA in this matter.